20 Apr 2007


ON THE recommendation of Andrew, a former winemaking collegue, I ventured to the ornate St. Francis winery, deep in the heart of Sonoma. Whilst the clock tower chimed (the winery is named 'in honour of the Franciscan order, believed to have been the first to bring European grape cultivation to the new world'), I took an olfactory stroll through their range. I particularly favoured their quite restrained '04 Zinfandel Old Vines. The Petite Syrah Reserve (also '04) had excellent tannins, a bit like thalassotheraphy mud. It was however as hot as a face-close electric bar fire on full pelt.
At Seghesio, a really special, prohibition-defying family owned wine firm, I tried Omaggio, their interpretation of the classic Super Tuscan.
Midnight black with forest gateaux on the nose, huge tannins, fronds of alcoholic fire, this venerable wine needs time to beam like the rest of the range.
I discovered an excellent live jazz bistro at 2231 Chestnut, San Francisco - Bistro Yoffi. Sometimes tart numbers are fine, and a bitter Loire Crémant NV, taken sitting at the bar, quelled 1/2dz slightly limp oysters. Two adjacent PR ladies from Lacoste - who happened to be obsessed with hand size - looked on.
Following, Folie A Deux '05 Ménage à Trois (a tri-partite: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel) brought ground black pepper and juicy hints of substantial strawberries, balsamic-dipped - all at a lean price.
Pictured, an impressive old train refusing to rust that fast. Quite a landmark in north of the Bay wine country.